Taking great honeymoon pictures

May 1, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Having recently seen a friend's honeymoon pictures -- the two of them standing in front of a sign at one tourist attraction, the couple standing in front of another tourist attraction (yawn) -- I thought I'd put together these tips for taking great honeymoon photos. Not to impress your friends or family, but to capture the very special, once-in-a-lifetime memories you created on your getaway. Every time you look at the wonderful honeymoon pictures, you'll relive those moments again and again...

Honeymoon fun

Think like a movie director

When you have the camera in your hands, always look for the magic in the moment or the spectacular scenery, just like movie directors do. For the greatest honeymoon photos, think "outside the box" in the following ways:

  1. Look for great, natural scenery like a waterfall with a rainbow arching out of the mist, the purples and pinks and oranges of the sunset, the bright green of the trees in the rainforest, the contrast of exotic flower colors against a stone wall. Then use that scenery as background for your honeymoon pictures.
  2. Use the light. Look for sunlight slicing through the clouds, the early morning glow of sunrise, the shadows of sunset, or candlelight to capture a range of images.
  3. Keep your camera handy so you can capture those unexpected scenes, like a wedding procession moving through the streets of an Italian village.
  4. Know that you don't have to be in all of your pictures. Write your names in the sand at the ocean's edge, surrounded by a heart, and take a picture of that. Get a shot of the birds that have attacked your breakfast on the hotel room's terrace when you left your eggs benedict unattended for a minute. These are great, telling moments with a wonderful honeymoon story to share later.
  5. Realize that you don't have to be facing the camera. Have someone snap a shot of the two of you walking along the beach, headed away from the camera, holding hands. Get a shot of your partner standing out on the terrace, gazing out at the open sea.
  6. Keep an eye out for candid shots. Not everything has to be posed -- and indeed shouldn't be.
  7. Use what you have. If it's been raining for six straight days, that's a part of your story! Go out and get drenched together, then have someone snap a shot of the two of you, adorably waterlogged, hugging each other. Or get some bright umbrellas and pose in the rainfall.
  8. Get shots you can't take at home, like the two of you standing under a waterfall or climbing Mayan ruins. This is your honeymoon after all!
Video: Beauty for the bride-to-be

Use your camera wisely

  • Know your digital camera. Before and after your honeymoon, play with your pictures. Zoom in or out. Do some cropping. The best part of the shot might be in the upper corner.
  • Use your camera's black and white capabilities, to have some of your honeymoon photos printed in classic style.

Using specialty cameras

Sure, digital cameras are amazing, but you can't take them in the ocean with you. For specialty honeymoon photos, consider the following great cameras:

Panoramic cameras. These wide-angle disposable cameras let you capture a wide sweep of the scenery from your hotel balcony, sunsets and rainbows, the grounds of your hotel, the scenery during your hike to a mountaintop, and other IMAX-worthy scenes. Your digital camera might offer you this capability, so check before shopping for a quality disposable camera, and know that you can buy frames specially made for panoramic photos.

Underwater cameras. These secure, plastic-coated disposable cameras are terrific for honeymoons! How else could you get underwater shots of the two of you kissing on your honeymoon? Other ideas for underwater pictures taken by you, or by a friendly vacationer to capture the two of you together:

  • The scene while you're scuba diving or snorkeling (also to prove that yes, you did do it -- and yes, that was a shark right below you).
  • "Mermaid" shots of you underwater, with your hair gracefully framing your face.
  • "Body shots" of you swimming underwater, great action shots where you can appreciate the great lines of your partner's form, or your own form.
  • "Dolphin shots" of the two of you playing, circling one another, entwined underwater.
  • "Taking the plunge" shots where the two of you are captured jumping or diving into the pool or ocean, surrounded by thousands of bubbles, with great expressions on your faces. It's your honeymoon -- show you're having fun!

Bedroom shots

No, I'm not talking about X-rated photos -- I'm talking about those wonderful pictures of your new husband as he's sleeping, or your bride laying sleepy-eyed on her pillow before lights-out. A recently married couple tells me that their favorite picture from their honeymoon was a "bedroom eyes" shot of the bride looking over her shoulder as the couple arrived back from a night out.

The sexiest photos are subtle, and it's all in the eyes -- so that's what you should aim for when you're thinking about capturing the moment.

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